View Full Version : If it's relevant: Does your child know they have autism?

01-28-2013, 08:32 PM
And if yes, when and how did you tell them?

DS was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (which I know will soon be phased out to be under the ASD umbrella) when he was a little over two. As far as I know, he is not aware of that diagnosis (he's 7 1/2). I don't think he's aware that he reacts/thinks differently than many kids either. He goes to see a therapist and an outside social skills group and is on an IEP at school but I don't know how much of that he realizes is not the norm.

I've been thinking that we should say something sooner rather than later but I'm not even sure when/why/how to begin that discussion.

He is very very verbal (communication went from a weakness to a strength with him!) but also very easily gets down on himself.

I've been reading to focus on the strengths he gets from his autism (an AMAZING memory, etc.) and then explain that sometimes he just thinks differently but...I don't know where to go from there or how to bring it up or pretty much anything. I don't want to do it "wrong" and make things worse for him.

01-28-2013, 08:56 PM
I have a friend with a son with autism. They told him at around age ten, iirc. Since your child has a therapist, can you discuss timing and presentation with his therapist?

(DS has an ADHD dx. We did a trial of meds so we did have to talk with him some about why. We tried to present it as his brain works differently and the meds would help him concentrate. He hated taking the meds and then had some side effects with minimal benefit so we discontinued. I have not noticed any concern on his part about the dx.)


01-28-2013, 09:36 PM
DS is very much aware that he has autism. For us, the hard part is getting him to understand that most people don't.

DS was diagnosed with autism just a week after he turned 3. We have always used the words "autism" and "autistic" around him and talked about it openly. We have had books and articles about autism around the house since before his official diagnosis. (DS has hyperlexia and started reading when he was 2.) We are active in the autism community, and DS enjoys going to autism events. He likes being around kids and adults with autism (and he is really good at picking out which kids have autism and which are the non-autistic siblings). He is in a special Ed classroom and knows that his classmates have autism too.

It is very important to us to help DS develop self-advocacy skills. A big part of that is helping him understand his diagnoses (he has others in addition to autism) and how they affect him. So we talk about how autism makes some things easier for him, like reading and memory, and how it makes some things harder, like parties and loud noises. We work on helping him recognize when he is overwhelmed or confused and how to ask for help or a break.

As DS is getting older (he's 8.5), he is starting to realize more that he is different from some of the other kids he knows - his cousins and the kids in the regular classroom. This is part of why we got him the book I talked about in the other thread, "I Love Being My Own Autistic Self" by Landon Bryce. It has really generated some good talks with DS about his thoughts and feelings about being autistic.

01-29-2013, 01:14 AM
DS is 8yo and was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. We told him about it shortly after we found out.

We basically told him that his brain works differently than most people and highlighted the advantages as well as some issues he will need to work on. We bought the book "Can I tell you about Asperger syndrome?" DH read it together with him. It's a short, quick read and was highly recommended by a local bookstore specializing in parenting books for special needs. The book was a good starting point for him to ask questions.


01-29-2013, 02:58 PM
Thank you. I will be speaking to his therapist but I don't always get the chance to talk to her without kids present so it may be a few weeks. Not that a few weeks probably matters when it's been a few years!